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Old 07-25-2009, 07:13 PM   #1
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Default Backflush= piece of cake

So my Cafiza backflush powder and blank portafilter came in today and I was kinda nervous about backflushing my Baby Gaggia after all the controversy surrounding do so and Gaggia USA's warnings not to do so.

I had my wife take my daughter and dog out of the kitchen and made sure my will was in order and followed Moo's instructions.

Pushing the pump button felt kinda like playing Russian roulette with my 38 and I had rags standing by as well as a clear escape route.

Within 30 seconds, black gunk flowed through the solenoid tube in a foamy froth, into the drip tray, and within 5 minutes, clear water flowed.

No scalding acids to my eyes, no blown solenoids and a sparkling grouphead after I took off the shower screen.

Can't wait to brew the Ethiopian Yirga I picked up today. It was still warm from the roaster at Whole Foods.

Next..... home roasting?
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Old 07-25-2009, 07:34 PM   #2
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Default Re: Backflush= piece of cake

So goes the backflush. Grungy then clear...

You'll get more long term satisfaction from roasting your own.
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Old 07-26-2009, 05:46 AM   #3
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Default Re: Backflush= piece of cake

Quote:
Next..... home roasting?
You'll get more long term satisfaction from roasting your own
I dunno, but I suddenly heard Handel's "Messiah" in the background.
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Old 07-26-2009, 07:11 AM   #4
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Default Re: Backflush= piece of cake

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I dunno, but I suddenly heard Handel's "Messiah" in the background.
Sunbeams bursting thru the clouds with in a "Hallalujah" cascade? Possibly. I hear bolero; Fl'inkhas been building, slowly and dramatically, to what seems like an inevitable conclusion. Whatever the score he is doomed.
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Old 08-03-2009, 08:41 AM   #5
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Default Re: Backflush= piece of cake

So did the outcome of backflushing bring you to the conclusion it was time to upgrade?
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Old 08-03-2009, 10:28 AM   #6
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Default Re: Backflush= piece of cake

For example, backflush SOP's:

I am not sure why this necessary but simple procedure causes so many folks to pause. A spoonful of Urnex in a blank handle; lock into a hot machine and run the pump until it goes quiet; repeat pump on/off until draining water is grunge-free. Remove handle, rinse it off and repeat without Urnex, rinsing residual cleaner from the 3-way solenoid, until water runs clear. The good barista also wipes off the grouphead, dispersion screen, gasket, etc. with a wet cloth and/or soft brush and clean water to make everything just right.

If your (Gaggia) machine spits hot water when you pressurize a blank, it'll spit hot water AND acetic acid when you backflush with Urnex. Take necessary precautions by defending yourself (and your property) from the scary hot acid grungy spray that usually dribbles neatly into the drain tray on practically every espresso machine made. Like, you know, put an old towel by the overflow tube and never stick your eyeball up close to see what's about to spurt out.

C'mon! People! We are pipe and cigar guys. A little hot acid spray won't keep us from cleaning our gear.
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Old 08-03-2009, 02:08 PM   #7
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Red face Re: Backflush= piece of cake

The way I understand Gaggia USA's position to be is a legal one, like McDonalds warning you the coffee is hot.

Many people also claim the pressure will wear out the pump after many years due to the position of the tank or something in a Gaggia.

I don't know for sure but will keep backflushing as prolonged and Gaggia use aren't looking likely for my restless soul.
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Old 08-03-2009, 04:49 PM   #8
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Default Re: Backflush= piece of cake

Since we're examining the innards of our beloved machines, I keep seeing recommendations to replace the o-ring gasket once or twice a year.

Mine looks like new, so I am wondering if you guys replace yours that often?
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Old 08-03-2009, 05:08 PM   #9
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Default Re: Backflush= piece of cake

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Originally Posted by floydpink View Post
Since we're examining the innards of our beloved machines, I keep seeing recommendations to replace the o-ring gasket once or twice a year.

Mine looks like new, so I am wondering if you guys replace yours that often?
Anita is a little over two now, and I havent' replaced the screen or gasket yet, but I'm good about cleaning. Lately I have been noticing some dribbalage however....no, I don't have prostrate problems,
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Old 08-03-2009, 06:26 PM   #10
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Default Re: Backflush= piece of cake

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...a little over two [years old] now... ...I have been noticing some dribbalage...
A grouphead gasket that has begun to leak has already lost its elasticity; in other words, through continued heat and compression the thing has gone just about rock hard. To spare yourself the inevitable unpleasant gouging out of a failed, glued-in grouphead gasket, change them once a year while they are still pliable and still easy to remove.

O-rings, associated with steam wand seals, are best changed before they begin to leak, too. I say, be a big shot and spring for the $0.65 early. Change the o-ring when you replace the grouphead gasket.
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Old 08-03-2009, 06:43 PM   #11
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Default Re: Backflush= piece of cake

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Originally Posted by Mister Moo View Post
A grouphead gasket that has begun to leak has already lost its elasticity; in other words, through continued heat and compression the thing has gone just about rock hard. To spare yourself the inevitable unpleasant gouging out of a failed, glued-in grouphead gasket, change them once a year while they are still pliable and still easy to remove.

O-rings, associated with steam wand seals, are best changed before they begin to leak, too. I say, be a big shot and spring for the $0.65 early. Change the o-ring when you replace the grouphead gasket.
Thanks Dan, I'll conduct the operation!
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Old 08-03-2009, 08:34 PM   #12
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Default Re: Backflush= piece of cake

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister Moo View Post
A grouphead gasket that has begun to leak has already lost its elasticity; in other words, through continued heat and compression the thing has gone just about rock hard. To spare yourself the inevitable unpleasant gouging out of a failed, glued-in grouphead gasket, change them once a year while they are still pliable and still easy to remove.

O-rings, associated with steam wand seals, are best changed before they begin to leak, too. I say, be a big shot and spring for the $0.65 early. Change the o-ring when you replace the grouphead gasket.
As usual, I'm screwing up my terminology on the gaskets and other parts.

Regarding the grouphead gasket,

I noticed on machines like the Expobar, there is a ridge above the shower screen where you are supposed to kinda pry off the gasket in a matter similar to opening a paint can.

I'd have to look at the diagram to figure out the steam wand o-ring gasket but imagine it shouldn't be hard to get to.

My grouphead gasket seems pretty well seated in there and now I have something to obsess over for a few days until a new gasket arrives. I'd imagine an angled awl should do the trick in this case.

Great tips, but feels like hot citric backflush to my eyeballs.

Thanks Dan. anything I need to do inside my grinder tommorow????
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Old 08-04-2009, 04:20 PM   #13
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Default Re: Backflush= piece of cake

Quote:
Originally Posted by floydpink View Post
As usual, I'm screwing up my terminology on the gaskets and other parts.

Regarding the grouphead gasket,

I noticed on machines like the Expobar, there is a ridge above the shower screen where you are supposed to kinda pry off the gasket in a matter similar to opening a paint can.

I'd have to look at the diagram to figure out the steam wand o-ring gasket but imagine it shouldn't be hard to get to.

My grouphead gasket seems pretty well seated in there and now I have something to obsess over for a few days until a new gasket arrives. I'd imagine an angled awl should do the trick in this case.

Great tips, but feels like hot citric backflush to my eyeballs.

Thanks Dan. anything I need to do inside my grinder tommorow????
I asked my dentist if he'd sell me a dental (pick) tool a few years back - a real heavy duty one. He had a drawer full of broken hand tools which included a very stout pick with a semi-curved hookie thing on it. It was perfect for getting around, and then under, a gasket without scoring the metal grouphead seat. No charge, he said.

You may find an awl works if the gasket is still quite pliable. If it's hard and brittle you may think about finding something else.
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Old 08-05-2009, 07:23 PM   #14
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Default Re: Backflush= piece of cake

I go in for a checkup next week and may follow your lead.

This article shows a very interesting way to replace the gasket using screws into the gasket.....

http://www.bluebox.com.au/jcrayon/gaggia/

Not sure if I am crazy about screwing in screws in an upward fashion into a grouphead though.
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